Michael Kitces #FinTech

3 ways to bring people to your blog

Use social media to broadcast your content and make it easy for readers to find you again

Dec 13, 2013 @ 10:55 am

By Josh Brown

Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting the folks at Twitter NYC in their offices in Midtown Manhattan. I got a tour of the floor they occupy (there was a heavily ornithological aesthetic to the decor) and then sat down with 100 or so Twitter engineers, salespeople, marketers and programmers for a Q&A. One of the kids (they're all so young) asked about how my use of Twitter began and I explained that I first joined the network as a blogger looking to gain new readers. I originally began tweeting as a means of broadcasting my blog posts.

Last month in this space, we discussed why a financial adviser's social media presence should begin with a blog. I argued that the blog is the torso to which all other appendages — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter — ought to be connected. Today, we'll talk about making those appendages work as a broadcasting mechanism for the things you're writing and saying.

The first step is to understand that you have very little control over the way in which people discover and come across your content. But once they do — and assuming they're interested in coming back — your responsibility is to give them a multiple-choice selection of avenues by which to do so. Don't obscure the road back to your site or sprinkle breadcrumbs in the forest; you need light that pathway up! Financial media content, both of the professional kind at mainstream news sites, as well as the independent blogger variety, is coming down the pike in a torrent. If you've managed to garner some new readers with something you've written, why not make it easy for them to come back?

They won't remember to type in your URL after they've left, so slip a return ticket into their pockets. There are many ways to do this that don't require much of an expenditure with your web guy for new programming or coding. Here are a few:

RSS feeds: At the bottom of each post, have a link from which readers can subscribe to your posts via RSS (really simple syndication) feed. RSS feeds may or may not be phased out, but professionally, content consumption people (journalists, aggregators, curators) are big RSS users; it's how they organize all the sites and sources they want to read each day. These industrial-grade content consumers are the people who are going to link to you or reference you or share your work in their own publications. You need to make it easy for them to include your blog in their daily routine and the way to do that is to stick an RSS link into the bottom of your posts or place the RSS icon in a prominent spot atop your home page.

The sites I read and follow are all organized by Feedly these days, thanks to the Google Reader massacre early this year, so I can put a regular URL in to save a site's feed, but you never know what others are using. RSS feeds are also the way my e-mail subscribers are getting my stuff — they're subscribing to my daily feed with an e-mail address and getting one e-mail around 6 p.m. with the full load of content I've published that day in one shot. There is no effort from me to make this happen, it's automatic. I only see the total count of subs for my feed, not the people's addresses or information, and they can unsubscribe at any time. This is a free, unobtrusive way to build a distribution e-mail list without asking anyone for anything.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook: Once you've put up a post, don't just sit there and hope the world remembers to visit your blog again. They won't and your amazing post about (fill in the blank) will just sit there like a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie on the DVD rack, never to be seen by anyone. You've got to broadcast the existence of your new piece of content across the networks. The key here is to realize that different people will have chosen all types of ways to follow you, and you don't know who is reading you where. So hit them all. Don't be a snob about from whence your readers come and don't assume that you can measure which type of readers originates where. You'd be surprised.

The Influencers: Don't annoy people with every post you write, but make sure to alert your fellow financial bloggers when you've done something worthy of their attention. People who send me every single link they publish get added to my spam inbox, but they are few and far between. Most bloggers have good judgment and don't e-mail leading bloggers such as Tadas Viskanta (Abnormal Returns), Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture), Howard Lindzon (StockTwits), Cullen Roche (Pragmatic Capitalism), Joe Weisenthal (Business Insider), Phil Pearlman (Yahoo Finance) or me unless they've done something truly awesome. And then we go to work making sure the word gets out. Sometimes we will offer up our blogs as a venue to repost your article. Sometimes we'll weave it into a post of our own or include it into a linkfest. Oftentimes we'll get it out to our Twitter followers. Just be cool about it and don't clog our inboxes with your B-game material.

These are just three methods with which you can make sure you're getting some bang for your blogging buck. Giving your regular readers and potential new ones a way to find you and subscribe to you, putting out the word through your social-network presence and then making sure the big dogs are aware of your stuff will make a huge difference for your stature as an industry thought leader.

Josh Brown is co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management and a financial commentator on CNBC.


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